Throwaway idea

Smart bins are helping commercial kitchens to rethink their rubbish

It is estimated that non-residential kitchens around the world throw away £75billion worth of food waste every year. Businesses like hotels and cruise ships are among the worst offenders, with edible offcuts and completely untouched foods facing the bin every single day. 

To try and kerb this waste, technology is stepping up to the plate. Some commercial kitchens are now using ‘smart bins’, which keep a grasp of the garbage and feed back useful information to the chefs.

By weighing and digitally recording the type of food being chucked – with a device similar to a supermarket self-checkout machine – kitchen staff can keep detailed records of how and why waste is being accumulated. Chefs can then use this data to spot patterns and reassess the way the kitchen works, with some even creating whole new menus that make more efficient use of supplies.

Food waste is a huge global issue, at a time when the sustainability of the food industry is also under scrutiny. There is no doubt that innovation in the foodtech sector is helping to cut back on unnecessary waste, from smart fridges that monitor expiry dates to apps that help communities share their unwanted food resources.

But while every householder can do their bit by buying, using and disposing of food responsibly, it’s the large-scale changes that will surely have the biggest impact. If vast industries like hospitality can be convinced to treat food waste as the major – and avoidable – problem that it is, maybe real improvements will finally be on the global menu.

Are you working on an innovative device, technology or foodtech development that could help professionals or consumers cut down on food waste? Drop the FoodTalk Show team a line on and share your tasty idea.

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